Home Private Equity Standard Media Index Sold to Private Equity Firm GCTR

Standard Media Index Sold to Private Equity Firm GCTR


Standard Media Index, a tracker of media spending that has gained marketplace traction in recent years, has a new controlling backer.

GTCR, a private equity firm, has made a strategic investment in SMI through Dreamscape, Inc., a partnership with technology executives Scott Knoll, David Hahn and Michael Iantosca, Knoll was named CEO of Standard Media Index, effective immediately. James Fennessy, the founder, will step away from his role leading SMI and will become a member of the board of directors of Dreamscape and serve as a consultant to the business. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“SMI’s leading data and ad intelligence products provide clients with real-time information to help drive better strategies around spend, placement and yield optimization,” said Knoll, in a statement. “With the proliferation of media channels and ad types, the insights that SMI can help provide are now an essential driver of media strategy. The company’s deep relationships with clients and agency partners are underpinned by its customer-centric approach and its commitment to innovation. The SMI team has built a truly unique offering and, together with our partners at GTCR, we believe there is an opportunity to further advance the platform and drive growth across the business.”

SMI’s marketplace distinction comes from the data it uses. The company tracks over $250 billion dollars of annual media spend globally, secured exclusive agreements with the world’s largest media agencies

Dreamscape, headquartered in Salt Lake City, was founded in May 2020 as a partnership between Knoll, Hahn and Iantosca and GTCR. The partnership’s focus is to acquire companies and assets as part of a strategy to build a leading marketing technology business. The investment in SMI is the second by Dreamscape. Last month it announced an investment in SQAD, a leading advertising research, analytics, and media planning software company.

“We see tremendous upside potential in SMI and its advertising software solutions,” said Craig Bondy, managing director and co-head of TMT at GTCR. “The company is well-positioned in the marketing and advertising industry with deep relationships with its partners and customers which have served it well. We believe that our investment, alongside the Dreamscape team, will provide the resources to expand SMI’s current product portfolio to address new markets and create fully integrated solutions for its customers. We are excited to partner with the SMI team and advance its mission.”

SMI was co-founded by Sue Fennessy and Jane Ractliffe in 2009 in Australia and moved headquarters to New York in 2011. Fennessy served as Chief Executive Officer until 2016. James Fennessy, who had been chief commercial officer, then assumed the role of CEO.

Kirkland & Ellis and Clayton Utz acted as legal advisors and LUMA Partners acted as financial advisor to GTCR and Dreamscape. DLA Piper acted as legal advisor and Stifel Nicolaus & Co. acted as financial advisor to SMI.

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